Maui Arts & Entertainment

Akihiko Izukura: The Way of Natural Textiles, Jan. 15-March 19

December 23, 2016, 2:49 PM HST
* Updated December 23, 2:52 PM
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The Maui Arts & Cultural Center presents Akihiko Izukura: The Way of Natural Textiles January 15 – March 19, in the Schaefer International Gallery. Akihiko Izukura, a Japanese master of dyeing and weaving, works primarily in silk by transforming thread into “wind-like” fabrics.

He hand dyes silk with subtle colors made only from natural materials, following a process that is over 2,000 years old. He also creates a wide range of functional and colorful modern garments with traditional weaving and knitting techniques. Many of his works and couture outfits have been exhibited in New York, Vienna and Copenhagen.

“This installation by Izukura is fulfilling his dream to create a large site-specific installation for the Schaefer. It’s an honor to work with this 74-year-old master artist as we engage in the challenges of installing hundreds of yards of woven silk and bamboo. The experience will be transformative, and I think its perfect timing for a healing exhibit such as this,“ said Gallery Director Neida Bangerter.

For his Maui exhibition, Izukura will be creating a large installation made of woven silk in a large ovoid form supported by bamboo, that visitors will be invited to walk through. This tunnel-like structure resembling a giant silk worm cocoon, will present a calm connection to being inside nature and experiencing the life of the creature transformed into a breathing silk textile.

“Within the handwoven tunnel created by circular movement, I have arranged two pieces: a sphere with a diameter of two meters which was spun by ten thousand silkworms as they rotated their heads, and another sphere which I made out of cocoons. These are products of nature that I learned about from silkworms. In Hawai‘i everything in nature is blessed by the gifts of sun and rainwater, that I was inspired to create the technique I call ‘taiyōzome,’ literally ‘sun dyeing,’ a dye method that replaces manmade fire with the power of sunlight alone. What a beautiful fairness there is in nature,” says Akihiko Izukura.


The symbiotic relation between man and nature, has become the philosophy and focus behind Izukura’s work. Along with the installation will be educational information about his processes and a small collection of his couture made with techniques in weaving, netting, braiding and entwining silk. To enhance the ambience of the space, MACC has commissioned San Francisco-based composer Christopher Willits to create an ambient sound collage for this exhibition for an overall feeling of transformation. A live performance by Willits is will take place during the exhibition on Saturday, March 4.


Akihiko Izukura was born into a family with a long history as Obi (sash) weavers in Nishijin, Kyoto, Japan. After formal studies at university and working in the family textile business he began his own, personal journey into Ito –Shirabe (research on thread) learning complex ancient structures of weaving and braiding, mastering techniques of the Edo period that were nearly lost. His experience took him further into the ancient complicated techniques of ra” (gossamer) and “Kara Kumi (braiding).

Years of research and hard work led him to his current philosophy of creating fabric or garments honoring sustainability and symbiosis with nature and the silkworm. His elaborated dialog within weaving, netting, braiding, entwining and dying led him to discover relationships between nature, fabric and man. His current work Senshoku-do includes eight methods: one color dying, yarning methods of reeling, spinning, and plying, and four textile methods of weaving, braiding, netting and entwining.

Akihiko Izukura: The Way of Natural Textiles
Schaefer International Gallery
Jan. 15 – March 19
Tues – Sat, 10 – 5, and before and during intermission for Castle Theater shows


Exhibit related events open to the public:

RAKUHAKU Workshop: Jan. 15, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Akihiko will begin with a demonstration of spinning, dyeing and reeling by hand. Participants will learn the processes of pulling, dyeing and forming silk to create a unique takeaway piece.
Cost of Workshop: $60, 3 hours (with 1 hour break for lunch) To reserve a space contact [email protected]

Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017; Yokouchi Pavilion & Courtyard/Schaefer International Gallery; 7-11 p.m.
Held in conjunction with the exhibit, the event will feature FUZZBOX Productions, DJ SOLE from Los Angeles and live performances. This event is Free and open to anyone 21 and over. Food and beverage will be available throughout the evening. Costume up, mingle, and connect to the arts.

Observe and Play Family Day: March 4, 10- 12 This family day offers a walkthrough of the installation in the gallery with a live performance by composer Christopher Willits, and a fun hands-on art-making activity dyeing silk. FREE EVENT

This exhibition is supported in part by The Japan Foundation, the Robert E. Black Fund and the Kent & Polli Smith Family Fund of the Hawaii Community Foundation with additional support from the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, County of Maui, Office of Economic Development.

Izukura,twist weaving obi, silk. PC: MACC.

Akihiko Izukura inside a tunnel of silk. PC: MACC

Akihiko Izukura silk hanging form. PC: MACC.

Akihiko Izukura with tubes object. PC: MACC.

Akihiko with silkworms. PC: MACC.

Akihiko Izukura, dye staff. PC: MACC.

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